Sunday, August 24, 2008

D2R2 2008 - Report

The 4th Annual
Deerfield Dirt Road Randonée (D2R2)
will be held on August 23, 2008
in conjunction with the
Deerfield Farm Festival

New Location 1 mile south of Historic Old Deerfield.

Quoting the official ride description:

"This RUSA populaire is breathtaking in both senses of the word: 109 miles, 70% on dirtroads, with 11,300 feet of climbing. A more-moderate 100K ride will leave at 9:00 AM, while a gentle 35-mile Tour of the Green River leaves at 11:00 AM. All rides start and finish 1 mile south of Historic Old Deerfield Village. Everything about this ride is extraordinary; over 12 years of planning by Randonneur Saunders Whittlesey went into this event. Riders will enjoy a fabulous network of secret backroads and horse-cart lanes through some of the most scenic and historic areas of western Massachusetts and southern Vermont. The constantly twisting route is often only one lane wide. Rest stops with refreshments will be staffed by area volunteers.
Stone walls line the roads far more than double-yellow lines. There are dozens of maple-tree 'allees,' over 20 miles of rushing streams, four covered bridges, and countless farms, fields, and forests. Riders may expect hours of cycling without a single car passing.
The lunch-break checkpoint is a little park with a National-Historic covered bridge, timber-crib dam, and swim hole.
Bicycles should be equipped with triple gearing and slightly wider tires (i.e. 25c-32c). Road conditions range from smooth clay to stony washout and puddles. Seven key climbs reach 1400-2000' elevation, and 16 smaller pitches exceed 13% gradient, including a 25% wall. At mile 90, riders will tackle the hidden back side of the lovely Patten Hill District: starting at 20% grade, the road narrows to a bumpy 8' lane and ascends 960 feet vertical in 1.5 miles to a grand overlook toward Vermont."

Simply put:
Who does not know the ride, should go for it next year and find out. In brief, it is over 12,000ft of climbing, mostly (70%) dirt road and some rough and though up (up to 25% incline on dirt) and down hills (on loose rough stuff), fast and fun turns and straits to just let it go on the down hill...., on a 170km coarse (without detours).

This year Py signed up for it again. Still a few minor oddities... and just two riders from the Island (as far as Py knows them) were participating the RUSA 170k.
Py this time went with parents up at Deerfield, MA the day before. Also J went up the same time and they meet again at the RR Inn in South Deerfield, checked out the starting location and went for a good preride dinner at the Northampton Brewery.

D2R2 2008 report
Rising early the next day at 4am and getting to the start and registration shortly after 5am. Still pretty dark and little light at the little tent at the start. But a good variety of breakfast and coffee was waiting -- Py has to say, that was the best of all the food he had seen this day at the ride, perfect for a good start - big compliments for that, very convenient! At 6am he was ready to go, but some how did not saw J in the dusk, he saw him a while ago at the registration... Little confusion came up, however, they planned for the 6am start optionally and the 6:15 as a go. So he waited and let the first group go. Still no J, he checked his car and found it empty. Strange. However, Py let his start time resign to 6:15 and went with the smaller 6:15 group.
Just a few riders and there were a few very miss leading yellow flags on a (wrong!! -- well, turned out to be the 100k route marking... not the 170k) right turn at a bridge shortly after the start - Py was pretty uncertain if that turn was right, but the marks were there and (all) the riders went there and seamed to be sure about the turn, even he asked... but after 3 miles uphill, concerns came up and they returned -- and many more small groups of riders got into the same trap... 6 extra miles -- that started out great.
However, back on the right track a great fast group self assembled -- moving pretty good up and down hill, that was fun and he almost forgot about missing J. Signed in at the 1st Water /Snack Stop (8:09 at Steady Ln, 20.0mi (+6mi for Py)) and found J been there. So he must have started assuming Py in the 6am field.
Py was hanging on and also moving ahead with the fast group, especially flying down hill with his Stonebite Cross bike. One more small water stop #2 and #1 Checkpoint Heath at 9:31 (35.9mi). Having a hard time keeping up on the very few flats and paved sections, catching up on the steeps and climbs and passing on the down hills... that was fun. Several miles before the 2nd Checkpoint Green River Covered Bridge he passed several riders and a group fixing a flat, arriving at this Checkpoint or 3rd water stop at 11:51 at 64.9mi (+6mi). J must have just arrived there also, as he run into him just at the turn into the rest area, how good! Py mad up 15 minutes + (extra 6mi) in time on J. From then on they stayed together. Little slower average moving, especially as Py could mover faster downhill still with good bike control on rough terrain due to his bike setup. A set of good climbs and downhills... One in between stop for cold water at the Colrain Supergas Store (at 91.65mi). A nice easy ride on pavement following a steep starting and long climb up Patten Hill to the last water stop #4 and Checkpoint #3 on Tower Rd. Almost done. 13mi to go, mostly down hill. Just a few minor climbs to be done, one fun -- very rought for roadies ;-) -- downhill at the very end before hitting pavement again lasting all the way to the finish at mile 111.75 (+6) at 16:40.

No missed turns at all (except the very fist confusion with the 100km route mark), very good this time, turns were marked by little yellow flags on the side of the road into the turn, that was a great help and improvement over last year, even he had his GPS set up for navigation (using the same old track he used last year, not including the start and a little different beginning, but working fine from mile 20 or so). Only issue, this stupid GPS stopped recording the track after an attempt to set an lap mark at the 1st water stop, however the navigation worked just fine to the finish. So, no complete ride data -- who cares.

Good old style ride logging:

Some photos at all the water stops:

A few remarks and comments and complains -- hopefully some on of the organizers will rethink it for next year:

Very good: Well set up breakfast at start, good job! But there were a few things... Py needs to tell also...
he did not liked the start/finish location on that dusty field so much, even it was closer from there to get 'n route. But most dissatisfactory was the fast food served at the finish -- no more comments -- these guys organizing bike ride should know what is reasonable food. And last, good Py was more or less self sufficient, the food and drinks at the water stops were not as good equipped as last time, only [nasty] Gatorade powder [ o-( ] was available for drinks. No energy, etc... bars -- at least he did not found some. OK, good enough, there were bananas, melon slices, sandwiches, PB&J, cheese -- works. Also no T-shirt included as 2007 :-(

All the riders and support people were as awesome as usual, so the whole things was a lot of fun and the weather was just as perfect.

And finally: a big thanks to all the volunteers!


  1. You got a photo of me at the covered bridge stop! I did the 100K ride.

  2. Hey cycling fan-

    This one in the
    orange jersey

    or two photos before in the pink jersey...?